Remember how we discussed that women are meant to be influencers? There’s no easier place to see this than in marriage. Wives, whether you realize it or not, you have likely become a skilled influencer of your husband. It is second nature for women to use subtlety, nuance, and timing to encourage the changes we want to see in our men. But unfortunately most of us use this skill set selfishly, manipulating to get what we want. God is aware of this bent within us (in fact He designed it!) and has intended for us to use it for the Kingdom of God and the good of our husbands, even at our expense.
To help us refine our skill of influencing, God has given 3 very clear and specific commands to wives: help, submit, respect.
Not the answer we usually want, that’s for sure. These are usually the last 3 things we want to do in relation to our husbands, but without these, we will never see our husbands flourish through our influence. I love the way Elisabeth Elliot put this concept:
“As man’s power over woman is restrained by love, woman’s power over man is restrained by submission. Any woman knows that she has ways of getting her own way. These must be restrained. The kind of restraint God asks of her is submission.”
So let’s unpack these commands to help, submit, and respect, one at a time.
“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him. The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Gen 2:18, 22, 24)
Unfortunately, most people think being a helper is little more than being a secretary. But as you’ll see, this is not an accurate interpretation. This phrase, “helper fit for him” is ezer neged in the Hebrew: ezer (help) neged (at your side, next to, beside, corresponding to). This Hebrew word ezer is used of Eve twice in this chapter. Every other time but one it is used of God and how He came to the aid of His people:
Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. Ps 33:20
But I am afflicted and needy; Hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay. Ps 70:5
O Israel, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield. Ps 115:9
I will lift my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Ps 121:1-2
What an incredible type of help this is! A help that shields, that is needed desperately, in times of need and affliction. This help goes beyond that of a secretary or assistant. This is help that is invaluable! Wives, this is the type of help we are to bring to our husbands!